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The Hilltop


Meet The Howard University Graduate Who Ran The Sixth Fastest Time In The World

Former Howard University track star Dylan Beard shocks the world with his victory at the Millrose Games, showcasing his talent as he sets his sights on Olympic qualification.

Dylan Beard Poses with MEAC championship medal in Howard University gear. (Photo by Jayspinks12. Photo courtesy of Dylan Beard.)

Defeating a world-class field including a NCAA champion, world championship medalists, and other established pros, 2023 Howard University graduate Dylan Beard catapulted his name into the conversation of elite short-hurdlers.

For many, Beard’s performance came out of nowhere, even shocking the event’s commentators, who are recognized as experts on the field. However, for fans of Bison athletics, Beard’s success looks like business as usual.

Following a sensational 2023 outdoor season where Beard blazed through the 110-meter hurdles, ranking seventh among collegiate athletes nationwide, the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) champion found himself contemplating his next chapter.

Beard’s educational journey led him through three universities: Wagner, Hampton and ultimately Howard. After majoring in biochemistry at Hampton, he went on to earn his master’s degree in public health at Howard.

Hailing from Baltimore, Beard’s academic achievements have propelled him toward ambitious career goals beyond the track. With a passion for violence prevention, he has actively contributed to initiatives such as Safe Streets in Baltimore and The T.R.I.G.G.E.R. Project in Washington, D.C., both leading community gun violence prevention programs.

Despite his deep ties to the D.C. and Maryland area, Beard decided to pursue his professional track and field career elsewhere.

“I have thought about [going pro] since I was 16/17 years old,” Beard told The Hilltop. “Then just starting to watch others in track, as well as myself progressing every year I saw that it was something I could truly make happen.”

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Following an impressive start to his 2024 indoor season with victories at Virginia Tech and Clemson University, Beard prepared for the highly anticipated 116th edition of Millrose Games in New York, hailed as “the world’s most prestigious indoor track and field meet.”

“I only knew Daniel Roberts was running, and I was just going to try and compete out there,” Beard said. “I found out there was some prize money involved and that the top six finishers would get a piece of that, so I needed to get results.”

In the race, Beard executed his plan, surpassing Roberts and world championship runner-up Trey Cunningham with a personal best time of 7.44 seconds. This not only set a new facility record, but also secured his victory in the event, marking the third-fastest time in the world at the moment.

Reflecting on Beard’s remarkable performance, world champion 110-meter hurdler and head track and field coach at Howard University, David Oliver, vividly recalled witnessing Beard’s historic win.

“We were in the Burr Gym parking lot watching his race on the phone after we arrived back from traveling ourselves,” Oliver said in an interview with Howard Athletics. 

“The reaction was so joyous and exuberant that campus police came out thinking something serious was going on,” he finished.

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Following the race, Beard revealed in an on-site interview that he is not a sponsored athlete and is currently working at the Walmart deli in the Raleigh-Durham area.

This interview garnered widespread attention online, sparking surprise among some who couldn’t believe an elite professional athlete would be full-time at Walmart. Others were perplexed by Beard’s decision to take the job, especially considering his advanced degree from Howard.

“Before moving to North Carolina to train, I was working overnights in a hotel,” Beard said. “I applied anywhere that was hiring in North Carolina, and the next day I got a call.”

“Even when I said I wouldn’t be there for another two weeks, they were fine with it, and I was on-boarded as soon as I got there. So I knew I could make it work,” Beard finished.

The transition from collegiate to professional status introduces a fresh array of challenges and opportunities, and Beard’s performance indicates a seamless adaptation. 

Beard currently trains alongside fellow American hurdler Cameron Murray under the guidance of NC State assistant coach Reuben McCoy. Their small training camp in North Carolina fosters an environment where the athletes push each other to excel, with McCoy offering insight.

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Looking beyond the Millrose Games, Beard sets his sights on qualifying for the 2024 Paris Olympic team for the United States during the outdoor season, all while striving for personal growth and development.

“I want more exposure, I’m looking to go against bigger names and I want to take a shot at the 2024 Olympic Games,” Beard said. “I know it’s going to take time to fully master my craft, so I’ll continue to be patient. But I am going to attack my goals so that I can one day look back and know I didn’t sell myself short.”

Copy edited by D’ara Campbell

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Anthony Graham

    March 28, 2024 at 6:24 am

    Awesome story and congratulations on your finishing top 6 in the field. Good luck in your qualifying for Paris! Peace and Blessings.🙏

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